By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Hi, this is Barry White, please join me on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday [long pause], May 8th, 9th, and 10th, for the first, for the first fuckin' thing, to a weekend in Texas on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 8th, 9th, and 10th, in Waco, Texas [pause]. I'm cuttin' a fuckin' spot, Tony! [very long pause] Jesus.
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College cordially invite you to a weekend in Texas on Friday, Saturday, [stops abruptly] one more time [picking it up again]. Invite you to a weekend in Waco, Texas, Saturday and Sunday [stops suddenly]. Shit!
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College cordially invites you to a weekend in Texas on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 8th, 9th, and 10th, as the . . . shit!
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College cordially invites you to a weekend in Waco, Texas [pause] . . . welcoming celebrities, reception on Friday [stops]. Let's take it after 8th, 9th, and 10th. Do it over -- fuck it.
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College cordially invites you to a beautiful weekend in Waco, Texas, on Friday [pause]. This asshole fucked these words up, man. I mean, he got words that he don't even need.
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College cordially invites you to a beautiful weekend in Waco, Texas, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 8th, 9th, and 10th. This gala weekend will include the welcoming celebrity reception on Friday, the first, second, and third rounds of the tennis tournament, the Barry White concert with the Love Unlimited Orchestra, of course, and the post-concert reception on Saturday [pause]. And the [hesitantly] championship semi . . . finals on . . . fuck this shit, man! I'm gonna cut this shit off! All right, fuck this, I'm gonna take it up to, uh [long pause], Love Unlimited Orchestra A that's where I'm gonna stop at. [Practicing] So get your tickets now.
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College in cordially [losing it], shitty, cordially invites your ass to come on down.
Hi, this is Barry White, and Paul Quinn College cordially invites you to a beautiful weekend [trailing off] on Friday, Saturday, ain't this a bitch.
(Okay, it helps if you actually hear it.)
He's Playing Your Game, Baby: But when he's on, when Barry and his whore/saint Lady Music get up-close and personal, ahhhh. Wouldn't the world be a better place if, when it came time to play the winning country's national anthem at an awards ceremony at the upcoming Summer Olympics, rather than pumping up the volume on "La Marseillaise" or "God Save the Queen" or "The Star-Spangled Banner," we heard instead, oh, the resonant tones of BW as he breathily talk-sings his way through "There It Is," from The Icon Is Love? Imagine a stadium or an arena full of people rising to their feet as the first strains of a tinkling synth pulse in the air, and they hear:
Don't say anything/Don't say one word/Just lay here/Just lay there and let me/Unwind a little/Seems like the day would never end/This is so nice/It really feels so good/I love to play all up in your hair/Let me touch you and rub you all over/Baby just lay there/I'm starting to feel something/That's really intensifying my body/Makes me want to do/All kinds of things to you.
His Sweetness Is Your Weakness: Lord high muckamuck of the recording studio, yes. Certainly no one in his or her right mind will argue that Barry White doesn't write the songs that make the whole world want to do the do. But let us not forget that he is a master showman, too, a performer of extraordinary . . . proportions. Venture back then to the summer of 1995, when the Maestro and his Love Unlimited Orchestra played the Sunrise Musical Theatre. Here's Sarah Frank, art department coordinator for the film Striptease -- and a woman not easily wowed -- to recall the show:
My roommate Alexis and I walk in and everyone is dressed to the nines: an older crowd mostly, with big outfits, big hairdos, chiffon dresses, a lot of sequins. And a huge disco ball is hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the place. So the Love Unlimited Orchestra starts up and sort of gets the mood going with this swelling orchestral intro, and then out comes Barry wearing a red satin suit.
He puts on a great show, sings all his let-me-make-love-to-you songs pretty good. He doesn't move too much, though, just very slow and subtle movements. Mostly he sings while standing in the same position and sways every now and then -- I think he played one or two tunes at the piano -- and he holds the crowd for about two hours.
Every now and then he has these two to four women on-stage dressed only in pastel-color chiffon negligees, and they do a seductive dance, shimmying their shimmies. They aren't present the whole time, just for a few tunes. And the girls lift his arms so they can do little twirls.